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Sustainable Energy Fund Launches College-Level Solar Energy Education Initiative

The Sustainable Energy Fund of Central-Eastern Pennsylvania has partnered with six Pennsylvania colleges and universities to launch Solar Scholars-– an innovative solar-energy education program for university-level students that aims to cultivate the “solar energy leaders, policy-makers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

The first and only program of its kind in the nation, Solar Scholars offers undergraduate and graduate students a unique opportunity for in-depth, hands-on study, training and research in the application of photovoltaic (PV) solar technology, as part of an overall academic curriculum in renewable and sustainable energy.

Following a competitive application process, The SEF – a non-profit, private organization dedicated to renewable energy, clean energy technologies, energy conservation and education – is proud to announce the following six schools selected for the Solar Scholars pilot program:

· Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Union County;

· Clarion University, Clarion, Clarion County;

· Mercyhurst College, Erie, Erie County;

· Messiah College, Grantham, Cumberland County;

· The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Centre County; and

· Villanova University, Villanova, Delaware County.

Solar Scholars offers funding and incentives to enable students to design, build, operate and maintain a solar system of significant impact on their campus, for which they would receive academic credit. Each partner school receives a state-of-the-art, Internet-based academic curriculum on solar power and other clean energy methods. Selected students also will receive financial sponsorship to attend an intensive training and certification workshop on applied photovoltaics – the use of solar cells to directly convert sunlight into electricity.

The SEF created Solar Scholars to develop solutions for meeting Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, set forth by Act 213. Act 213 mandates that a certain percentage of electric energy in Pennsylvania be derived from clean, renewable sources, and sets ambitious goals for solar energy, in particular.

The Solar Scholars program is a way “to begin building critical thought leadership and the foundation for sustainable market for PV technology right here in Pennsylvania,” explains Dr. Rex A. D’Agostino, President & Executive Director of The SEF.

“We’re in the midst of a global energy crisis and will all be faced with some very important and perhaps difficult decisions about our energy choices,” D’Agostino says. “It’s important that those decisions are informed by science, and business- and technology-based. That’s why Solar Scholars is targeting college students – they are in the best position to make an immediate impact and will drive those important energy policy and technology decisions upon entering the workforce.”

The Solar Scholars mission is to partner with academia to develop long-term, practical solutions, as well as innovative applications of PV technology, for both academic and commercial purposes.

The program aims to expand to include all Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Its goal is to have a PV solar installation on each of the Commonwealth’s 152 campuses by 2008.

For more information and how to apply, visit the Solar Scholars webpage.

NewsClip: Program Hopes to Further Solar Use


4/28/2006

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